Later this month Minneapolis will officially ban itself from investing in oil companies and encourage other organizations to do the same.
The city doesn't have any investments in oil right now anyway, so the initiative is largely symbolic. It's the latest progressive cause to gain traction in a recently elected City Council that passed measures during the last year banning styrofoam at restaurants, requiring ear plugs at rock shows and renaming Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day. See also: Styrofoam Food Containers Officially Banned in Minneapolis
"This is something Minneapolis residents have actually come forward and asked me to do," says Council Member Cam Gordon, who sponsored the anti-oil policy as one of the city's two elected officials who are members of the Green Party. "It's connected very much so to climate change and avoiding the most devastating impacts of climate change."
Gordon says oil companies already have five times more fuel extracted than environmental scientists say is safe to burn, yet $1.8 billion is spent every day searching for more, according to the resolution that passed the council committee Monday.
"There's, I guess, different numbers that people have out there, but it's really important that we hold these global emissions down and we have already found enough fossil fuel to exceed them dramatically," he said.
The City Council passed similar divestment measures against South Africa in 1985 and Sudan in 2008.
If the full City Council approves the resolution at its March 20 meeting, Minneapolis will become the 38th American city to divest in oil, joining the likes of Boulder, Seattle, San Francisco, Oakland, Providence, Santa Fe, Madison, and Ann Arbor, among others.
Send news tips to Ben Johnson.